The old airline adage about 'bums on seats' has been taken to a new level by Exeter, UK based airline Flybe. Like all their peers they're keen to get as many seats on their flights filled as possible, however the pressures exerted by their deal with Norwich airport has led to some extraordinary tactics.
In order to fill the passenger quota required under the contract, and to avoid losing £280,000 if they failed, the airline took the unorthodox step of advertising in the local press for actors to come and take a flight between Norwich and Dublin to make up the numbers. The ruse may have back fired as the airport's managing director has questioned whether they will permit the payment having become aware of the question over whether some passengers are bona fide.
As well as looking for 'extras' for the flights, the airline kept staff on stand by ready to fill seats. Flybe has said it decided not to use actors after it placed the ad, however Suzanne Moore, a passenger boarding a Flybe aircraft at Norwich yesterday said she was a model and had been paid to fly. And we thought it was only Heathrow that people had to be paid to use.